Located just outside the city of Batavia, Rolling Hills Asylum is believed to be home to spirits dating all the way back to 1827. After opening as a poorhouse, an institution where paupers were maintained with public funds, this include orphans, widows, the handicap and minor criminals, Genesee County made the decision to construct an addition one year later “for the confinement of lunatics and a repository for paupers committed for misconduct” (Rolling Hills Asylum). Those admitted to the poorhouse were referred to as inmates (no matter why they resided there) and those physically able would work the farm to help offset some of the living and housing expenses.
The County would bury those who had no family, and records indicate there was once a cemetery located on the property, but the particulars are almost nonexistent. An actual cemetery register or plot map has yet to be discovered. Rolling Hills, often referred to as the County Home, was closed in 1974. Those who resided at the County Home were relocated to new facilities in Batavia.
“I kept seeing a woman in an old fashioned nurses uniform walk past our shop door. When I would look down the hall, she would be gone, but you could hear her shoes squeaking. We went upstairs, and the owners had taken all the doors off and laid them inside the rooms. My husband and the boy, I cannot remember his name, were walking beside me … As we walked past the rooms, one at a time you could hear the doors slam shut. The boys were walking very fast at this point, but I saw movement from the corner of my eye. I stopped in front of one room and saw an old metal tub with a high back, an elderly man sitting there in steaming hot water, eyes closed and skin bright red. The woman in white that I had been seeing was leaning over him with a strange smile on her face. Everything happened very fast, the vision was gone, replaced by a room with rubble about the floor. I never saw the woman in front of our shop again. I did always hear murmuring, squeaking of wheelchairs, and children laughing.”
“Three years ago myself and my two friends bobby and tommy were in the Christmas room doing EVPs and we upon review we came across this EVP which I believe [SIC] says ‘kill them.’”
“My team members and I were in the Shock Therapy room and we caught the Organ in the upstairs playing two notes on our EVP recorder. It is one of the best EVP’s I have ever caught.”
“In June 2008 I came to Rolling Hills Asylum as part of a Darkness Radio event and had three amazing nights of activity, including meeting Roy Crouse, the 7+ foot Shadow man, and captured some outstanding evidence.”
*All stories are taken from the asylums website!
Rolling Hills Asylum is a fan-favorite for many paranormal activity seekers. Its haunted halls have been featured in major paranormal investigation television shows such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal Challenge and Ghost Asylum! Rolling Hills is so renowned that it was featured in FX’s American Horror Story “Get Committed” Asylum Promotion!
Rolling Hills Today
As of 2020, Rolling Hills Asylum remains vacant. Under its current ownership, the asylum offers self-guided tours (as to maintain social distancing protocol), as well as other events that can be found on the establishment’s website. Until Oct. 31, Rolling Hills is offering “Ghost Hunts at Dead Time,” an interactive hunt starting at 1 a.m. It should be noted that attendance is only permitted when events are taking place, and those in attendance have a ticket. Rolling Hills Asylum is private property and those who trespass will be reprimanded.
I wanted to write this feature to get into the Halloween spirit, but also because a family member of mine lives on the same road as RHA. As a child, I often would drive by the asylum and it made the hairs on my arms stand straight up! Jokingly, we would park outside and watch for ghosts and ghouls in the windows. I tried to put on a tough act in front of my family, but I genuinely was terrified. Even driving by now I still get an uneasy feeling. Whenever I would stay the night I had a hard time sleeping knowing that Rolling Hills was just down the road.